Airport Beekeepers Get a Second Chance

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Every 10 days, Thad Smith enters a piece of land that is otherwise forbidden to most people: The empty acreage around Chicago’s O’Hare airport. It’s there that Smith and his crew from the Westside Bee Boyz tend to 75 beehives. Last year, he and his fellow beekeepers harvested 1,600 pounds of honey in the otherwise unoccupied land… Read More

The Color of Food: Seeds of Growth for the Cherokee People

Kevin Welch

This is the final in a series of four excerpts from The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming. Read more about the book and the author here, then check out the first, second, and third posts.

The sky is a brilliant blue as I drive onto Cherokee land in the Great Smoky Mountains along the North Carolina–Tennessee border. I pull into a small driveway leading up to a modest house with a sign out front that reads “The Center for Cherokee Plants.” This is where Kevin Welch and Sarah McClellan work to save seeds and propagate plants significant to Cherokee culture.  Read More

Raj Patel: Gender Equality Missing From the Food Policy Conversation

Photo credit: Sheila Menezes.

Raj Patel is an award-winning writer, activist, and academic. He is a Research Professor in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin and a Senior Research Associate at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa.

Patel is also the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing.

We talked to him about gender displacement in the food system, the World Bank, and the Generation Food project. Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: COOL Rulings, Good News on Antibiotics, and L.A.’s Minimum Wage

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If you’re like most Americans, you probably want to know where the meat you buy at the supermarket comes from. Well, you might be out of luck. And we’re not talking about which farm, or even which state it comes from–but which country. A Wednesday vote by the House Agriculture Committee proposed to repeal “country-of-origin” labeling (COOL) on meat packages that included information about where in the world the animals were born, raised, and slaughtered. Read More

Boston to Launch the Nation’s First ‘All-Local’ Public Market

Outdoor Rendering of Market

The new public market opening this summer in Boston will never sell a banana or an avocado. In the winter and spring, when there are fewer vegetables in the fields, there will be fewer vegetables in the market’s stalls. And if local fishermen can’t catch it, it won’t be on offer.

The Boston Public Market will be home to about 40 vendors, who will sell fruits and vegetables, fish and meat, and honeyall grown, caught or produced in New England. Read More

In Chicago, Former Park Houses Become Cooking Classrooms

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In early May, a group of children lined up along tables to press small cookie cutter shapes into blocks of cheese. Next, they were given skewers and fruit and asked to design their own shish kebabs.

Teacher Kinga Kelly extolled the virtues of eating colorful foods–like bright red strawberries and deep purple blueberries–to the group. “What is the benefit of eating the rainbow?” she called out. “We get nutrients,” they called back. “Iron! Vitamin C for your immune system! Vitamin E for your skin! Vitamin A! Vitamin D for your bones!” Meanwhile, the thud of dribbled basketballs echoed from a gymnasium down the hall. Read More

This Senator is a Food and Farm Powerhouse

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When Congress talks food and farming, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) is there. From 2011 to 2014, she was chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and she remains a ranking member with enormous influence over what our nation eats.

Stabenow shepherded the latest farm bill, which was signed into law in February 2014, after a long, contentious slog over cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or “food stamps” and farm subsidies. Read More